Sunday, 20 April 2008

The dreams of others bore me. Talking of dreams bores me. Here I shall talk of my own dreams.

One night, three dreams that are both connected and separate, recalled here not as interest for an unknown reader (that cannot be possible) but as an aide to my subconscious, to see if the direct preparing and retelling of these dreams will influence tonight’s dreaming – a sleep experiment.

Dream the first: A deserted Russian outpost, autumn. It is cold and grey as I walk down the dead straight road into town. The surrounding area is scrubby post-agricultural land, now at this time of year moving into a wintry palette. [I have been here before in a dream about two years ago. I did not know this until first recalling this dream, four days ago]. Previous experience told me that if I stayed on the road as I entered the town I would be a target for hidden snipers. Skirting the ditches, under the shadows of the roadside vegetation, I make it to the entrance of the town and turn left down the long track to the abandoned refinery. Great structures of enormous pipes, grids of cooling towers and cavernous spaces between warehouse shells provide a sense of awe in the settling dusklight.

Dream the second: Inside a cheap, bungalow; probably a self build. The rooms are large and expansive, open-plan like make of the houses I have visited in the United States, but this too is seemingly (and entirely without reason) in Russia. I stalk from room to room, assassinating men with a pistol; this is done without aim or thought and I cannot remember the men. Cars pull up outside. Many people approach the house, enter through the front door and start sweeping through the rooms. The sun feels as though it has been setting for hours, emitting that middle light which illuminates nothing on its own, but is bright enough to render electric light useless. I hide behind the large corner sofa for some time. With no compunction and much intent, I systematically begin to render each of my potential assailants immobile with sharp strikes to the nose with the butt of my pistol. Each falls to the floor instantly, struck just beneath the eyes. I flee from the house.

Dream the third: I am pursued across expansive, lush hills in bright daylight. I am being chased by a girl. Each field is fenced, with wide strips of squared wire, topped with barbs. At junctures it is held vertical by wooden stakes driven into the soft land. I run across perhaps three fields, pausing at each fence to scale it, always aware of the girl behind me. As I reach the peak of the tallest hill, a valley opens up beneath me revealing a winding road meandering through the landscape. At a wide bend several orange vehicles - camping vans – are stationary and I run towards them. As I approach, still sprinting, a small group of people look towards me, then behind them to the hills opposite before running down to the small stream that runs alongside this section of the road. A helicopter rises over the trees behind the vehicles, and the people dive into the water. I make for the stream, skidding down the steep slope partly on my knees. Once at the water, I try and submerge myself, struggling against the buoyancy of my own body and the helicopter hovers directly overhead.

These are narratives of narrative-less images, structure only occurs in the telling. I cannot yet communicate the relation between writing of dreams in this way, and the act of writing fiction. Perhaps it is about the ethereality of the source material, the fact that it comes from the formless upper air of sleep. But it is not just this - the process of recollection, the way it is formed into false memories which are then recounted as truth is just as important. There is something uncanny in the writing too, imagistic and vague, but told with a confidence of vision.